Feeds

Cameron: Give the UK's health records to Google

Government should look to Wikipedia for inspiration

The essential guide to IT transformation

David Cameron has repeated his pledge to cancel the ContactPoint database and the ID card scheme if the Tories win the next election.

Speaking at the weekend, Cameron said the Tories would also look closely at the National Programme for IT - the controversial and expensive NHS modernisation programme.

Echoing last September's policy review, he called for a decentralised approach to replace the highly-centralised project.

Cameron singled out the "Electronic Patient Records system" as an example of Labour's wasteful spending. Imagining how the Tories might have implemented such a project, Cameron said: "You don’t need a massive central computer to do this. People can store their health records securely online, they can show them to whichever doctor they want... But best of all in this age of austerity, a web-based version of the government’s bureaucratic scheme services like Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault cost virtually nothing to run."

Google and Microsoft have both lobbied hard to get their hands on medical records in the US and elsewhere. Winning such a contract would guarantee revenue for years to come as well as provide a central reason to increase the use of their technology in healthcare - a new but growing market. There are also concerns about the use of anonymised records for pharmaceutical research.

Suggesting such a solution would be free is either wishful thinking or naivety. Likewise, a true handing over of responsibility to patients for their own data would be radical, even if not entirely practical - patients might not always be in a condition to hand over access to their own records.

There is no doubt that the NPfIT is a shambles - the National Audit Office reckons it is four years behind schedule. But the Summary Care Records project is fairly well advanced - hospitals and primary care trusts have spent millions on it already. The Royal Free reckons the project cost £16m. Given how contracts are written, it is likely that the Tories would have to pay almost as much to get out of the contract as to complete it.

A spokesman for the Tory Party was unable to give us any further details of how this may work. The British Computing Society is currently reviewing the NPfIT for the Tories, and its report is due in late summer. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.